Tourism officials in Jordan have been reviewing developments in the country's tourism sector as revenues from 2016 are on par with takings from 2015 despite a reported rise in the number of visitors to the Western Asian kingdom.
Jordan is home to an incredible 100,000+ sites of religious and archaeological sites and spectacular landmarks that draw tourists from all around the world, namely the historical cities of Petra and Jerash, and biblical sites including Al-Maghtas and Mount Nebo.
These sites are significant to both Islamic and Christian faiths, but Jordan also sees visitors coming for the purposes of medical tourism, where people come to receive medical attention that cannot be found in other places in the region.
Reports registered a 2.6 rise in overnight visitors in 2016, up from around 3.14 million in 2015 to 3.86 million in 2016. However, revenues from these 2016 visitors remained the same as in 2015, at approximately JD2.87 million.
Tourism is a cornerstone of the Jordanian economy, so it should come as no surprise that these statistics are being examined closely to see why and how the gaps are occurring, and analysis points to a number of factors.
The main reason that intake from the tourism sector is down is due to a shift in where the majority of tourists are coming from, and how their spending habits differ.
Traditionally, regional tourism made up the bulk of visitors to Jordan, mainly from Saudi Arabia, whose population has a bigger spending power than visitors from Europe, the United States and Asia.
But the number of Saudis coming to Jordan has dropped due to internal economic measures being taken in Saudi Arabia to cut down on expenses, which has had a knock-on effect on people's decisions to travel.
The effects of regional instability because of the Arab Spring and the ongoing war in Syria have also had an effect, with people perhaps choosing not to travel to a region that is deemed to be in the midst of an armed crisis.
The ministry for tourism is going to focus its efforts this year on cultivating religious and medical tourism in an effort to boost these sides of the economy.
Let's take a look at some projects currently underway in Jordan:
QASR AL-AQABA: Saraya Aqaba features a unique mix of residential, business and entertainment facilities and outlets, including the following four new hotels: Qasr Al-Aqaba, Al Qala'a, Al Manara a Luxury Collection Hotel and The Westin Aqaba.
Al Manara, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Saraya Aqaba: Saraya Aqaba features a unique mix of residential, business and entertainment facilities and outlets, including the following four new hotels:
Qasr Al-Aqaba (Jumeirah)
Al Qala'a (Jumeirah)
Marsa Zayed Aqaba: The project would include 8 hotels in a mixed-use waterfront project. This project will furthermore include high-rise residential towers, retail, recreational, entertainment, business and financial facilities.
The project will be implemented in several phases once the transfer of land ownership is complete.